Air Asia India customers in deep mess!

Air Asia India customers are in a deep mess but they don't realize it yet as international flights are currently suspended in India (except few flights with air bubble agreements)

Till 2020, Air Asia was one entity for Indian consumers- though Air Asia India existed and operating domestic flights (I5), it was one website- that handled everything. I could book a BLR- Delhi domestic flight or BLR-KUL international flight using one website. If we had loyalty points pending (due to say cancelled flights) we could have used it to book any other flights.

Air Asia India was fully guided from Malaysia- in terms of aircraft selection, destinations, pricing and so on. Customers got a uniform experience whether it is domestic or international flight. But as you know, a lot happened in 2020

1. Covid 19 struck and airlines around the world were affected, including AirAsia
2. While many airlines around the world got Govt support to sustain, AirAsia didn't get any
3. Air Asia India was already in loss and situation aggravated, resulting in Air Asia parent company selling its controlling stake to India partner-Tata Group, causing separation of Air Asia India from Air Asia Berhad (Malaysian Parent company)

#3 above is the focus of this article as it has caused a massive trouble for Air Asia's India customers. Current problems are as below.

But AirAsia Malayasia sold its stake in Air Asia India to Tata Group. Tony Fernandes still holds a minority stake but for all practical purpose, AIr Asia India is now a separate entity from Air Asia Barhad. For Indian customers, this means following problems

1. New Website: Air Asia India has formed a new website:, which has no user login, your earlier air asia login credentials are no longer relevant. They will probably enhance the site a bit but you'll have to begin from scratch.

2. No access to Sad part is we can't even access earlier They have set a redirection rule so opening AirAsia's international website is tricky affair. You might still manage to open it through some circus but there also changes have been made to make it impossible to track your credit shell points.

3. Lost credit points: If you had some Air Asia international tickets from 2020 (cancelled due to Pandemic) refunded via credit shells, Air Asia India will not honor them. There is no way to view them now- AirAsia has tweaked the website so that users can't see part booking details or credit shell details. No option to pay by credit shell during new booking, which is anyway handled by another site-

This means all your credit shell points are at a risk of being written off.

4. International flights uncertain: AirAsia had some of the cheapest international flight tickets to Asia and Australian destinations from India. I have flows to Macau, Vietnam, Gold Coast, Auckland, Melbourne, Bali, Manila, Palawan, Yangon and many other destinations on cheap AirAsia flight. With the airline in crisis and relationship with India in bad shape, not clear if Air Asia will resume its India flights to KUL and DMK once Corona restrictions are lifted. If not, Indians will miss a super cheap airline.

As a customer what can we do?
Air Asia group itself is in a mess. It is operating some domestic flights inside Malaysia. Not much international flights are operating at this moment, both because of restrictions put in by respective countries and also air asia's own financial struggles. There are many examples of Airlines going burst and customers having to write off the money paid for tickets on now cancelled flights. Jet Airways, Kingfisher are some live examples.

Below is what I found
Air Asia India washed off its hands outright, asked me to tweet to AirAsia Malaysia

Sent a tweet to AVA, no reply [tweet link here]. You can try your luck contacting the airline on Social Media but don't think they care.
Sent an email to the stated email ID, no reply. I am currently staring at a loss of about 40-50k INR in various tickets that had to be cancelled due to covid. My cancelled tickets include Vizag-Melbourne 5500 Rs ticket, Perth-Chennai 10k ticket, AMD-KUL 502 Rs ticket, few tickets to Cambodia, Laos etc. Had booked them long before Covid crisis kicked in. While I stare at the loss, I am also thankful to AirAsia for all the cheap flights I had in the past- Chennai-Auckland return for 24k, Chennai Australia return for 20k, Chennai-Brunei return for 8k, Chennai-Japan return for 16k and so on. Hope those golden days of travel return soon.

In this video (April 2021), Air Asia boss Tony Fernandes says they are yet to refund about 450000 customers and will do as soon as they can. While it is a bit reassuring, I won't trust it 100%. During a crisis no leader will be honest to admit "Our ship is sinking, I am escaping with my personal wealth, you are on your own". Leaders try to buy time, win confidence and try for recovery. So we can be optimistic but be prepared for worst.

So below are the options I can think of, for previous Air Asia customers.

1. Write to support, ask for refund.
Try your luck writing to Air Asia Malaysia support asking for refund against your credit shell. Not sure if they will entertain but you may get lucky. Put pressure on social media.

2. Hope for recovery
May be another 3 months international flights open up and if you manage to get vaccinated by them, many countries might accept you as tourist. If you have unused credit shell and airline facilitates using them, you might be able to book a few trips.

3. Legal action: Team up with other affected customers and initiate legal action- will be a long shot given parent company is in Malaysia, but Airline might agree to refund fearing negative publicity.

For a hope of successful refund, it is essential covid crisis ends soon, travel resumes and airlines survive and revive soon. airas

4. Write off and move on: If the amount involved is too small for you to fight for it, write it off and move on. Covid was not AirAsia's fault and long legal battle is not guaranteed to give any refunds. Focus on something else and earn more than what you have lost.

This is what AirAsia should do to give comfort to customers:
1. Give assurance that credit shells are still valid- extend validity and give assurance that they can be used in any air asia group flights including Air Asia India
2. If above is not possible, assure cash refund. We understand airline is in crisis and needs time but an assurance and timeline will go a long way.
3. Make accessible to India customers to see their credit shells or book a flight on AirAsia's international network
4. Give customers an option to book directly on instead of redirecting them to use site which doesn't accept credit shells.

AirAsia was flying to lots of destinations in India- Chennai, Kochi, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Kolkata, Vizag, Hyderabad and so on. They used to run frequent sales so I am sure tens of thousands of Indian customers would have booked tickets worth hundreds of crores which are now held up with airline with no refund and no sight of flights operating. Indian consumers probably haven't realized their loss as international flights haven't resumed yet. Time for airline to prepare well before it blows into PR disaster and crisis.

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